Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be the chief guest at India’s annual Republic Day Parade in January 2021, the United Kingdom has confirmed.
During talks with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in New Delhi, visiting UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab confirmed that PM Johnson has accepted India’s invite to be the chief guest at the Republic Day Parade next month.
“I am absolutely delighted to be visiting India next year at the start of an exciting year for Global Britain, and look forward to delivering the quantum leap in our bilateral relationship that Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi and I have pledged to achieve,” Johnson said in a statement.
“As a key player in the Indo-Pacific region, India is an increasingly indispensable partner for the United Kingdom as we work to boost jobs and growth, confront shared threats to our security and protect our planet.”
Jaishankar said Johnson attending India’s Republic Day Parade would herald a new era in India-UK relationship.
“The presence of PM Boris Johnson as the chief guest at Republic Day 2021 would be in a way symbolic of a new era, a new phase of our relationship,” the EAM stated.
Earlier this month, speculation had started that the Indian government had invited Johnson to attend the 2021 Republic Day Parade in New Delhi. However, neither of the two sides had then confirmed the development. The British High Commission, while refusing to confirm or deny the invitation, had stated that Johnson was keen to visit India.
“PM Boris Johnson is keen to visit India as soon as possible,’ a British High Commission spokesperson had stated.
It was reported earlier that the invitation to be the chief guest at the 2021 Republic Day Parade was extended to PM Johnson by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during their telephonic conversation late last month.
During the same call, the UK PM had invited PM Modi to attend the G-7 Summit in Britain next year. PM Modi had said after speaking to Johnson over phone that he had an excellent conversation with his friend and the UK counterpart. The two leaders had discussed the roadmap for India-UK ties over the next decade.
“We agreed to work towards a quantum leap in our cooperation in all areas — trade and investments, defence and security, climate change and fighting Covid-19,” PM Modi had tweeted.
It may be recalled that John Major was the last British PM who had attended India’s annual Republic Day Parade in 1993 as chief guest.
Source: Times Now